A long-term study in men shows that milk can actually lower the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Researchers at the University of Bristol, England studied 764 men who were all between 45 and 59 years of age when they were enrolled in the Caerphilly Cohort Study between 1979 to 1983. Each was asked to keep a detailed record of everything they ate and drank for seven consecutive days and were given comprehensive health exams every five years for 20 years.

Men who consumed the most milk every day ( a pint or more) had a lower risk of ischaemic heart disease and a significantly lower risk for stroke than those who drank the least amount of milk (less than a half pint). These results held true even if the men were drinking whole milk at the start of the study. Nearly all had switched to lower fat versions of milk during the course of the study.

Cholesterol and blood pressure was similar in both the high milk and low milk groups.

The researchers say contrary to popular belief these results show that milk does not increase the risk of heart disease and stroke – and may even be protective.

The findings were reported in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Senior Journal.com, sciencedaily.com